With Merkel and PM, France's new president wastes no time

French President Emmanuel Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo left walk together to attend a ceremony at the Paris city hall France Sunday

International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission Chair Patrick Baumann, left, says goodby to new French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee palace in Paris, France, May 16, 2017.

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron is building a new government with a fresh face - lean, half-female and tasked to carry out plans to rethink labor laws and overhaul politics.

The 46-year-old lawmaker, largely unknown to voters, is a member of the mainstream-right Republicans party that was badly battered by Macron's victory in the presidential campaign.

By appointing Philippe, Macron has passed over some loyal followers including Richard Ferrand, a former Socialist who was one of the first to join Macron's cause previous year and is secretary general of REM. "I will also need luck".

There has been widespread speculation about whether other young modernisers from the centre-right such as Bruno Le Maire or Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet could follow suit and join the government.

Meanwhile, Macron's political allies took up positions dealing with foreign affairs, security and defence. "That's what the majority of our citizens want today, and our responsibility is enormous".

Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, the outgoing Socialist Defence Minister and a close friend of former president Francois Hollande, was named foreign minister and minister for Europe.

She said Macron's choice of prime minister shows a "holy alliance" between left and right and continues to try to keep alive a system she wants to break. "That can only shake up the system and bother The Republicans, in particular".

Macron is seeking to attract members from both the right and left to his new political party, La République en Marche (Republic on the Move), in time for next month's parliamentary elections.

The populist Le Pen said her National Front party is now the only "true opposition" for June legislative elections.

France's new President Emmanuel Macron secured backing from key ally Chancellor Angela Merkel for his bid to shake up Europe, despite scepticism in Berlin over his proposed reforms. Gerald Darmanin, also an LR politician, was named public accounts minister.

"In government, you will see that a lot of the inner circle will drop out", Christophe Castaner, Mr Macron's campaign spokesman, told journalists on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony. Nicolas Hulot, a veteran ecologist activist, was named as ecology minister.

Shares in state-controlled utility EDF EDF.PA , which produces mostly nuclear power, closed down 6.5 percent on the news.

The Cabinet includes 18 ministers and 4 junior ministers, half of them women and half men.

Macron won the May 7 election with a resounding 66% of the vote, but his mandate may not be as strong as those numbers suggest.

The new cabinet is scheduled to hold its first meeting on Thursday morning.

While some in the Republicans fumed at Philippe's appointment, seeing it as a betrayal, others urged the party to accept Macron's "outstretched hand".

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